Social evolutionary studies: Computational Anthropology or Science of Cities basis?

 Social evolutionary studies are starting to be the very basis of some recently emerged new disciplines. Computational Anthropology as a new science is based on the Big Data obtained from location-based social networks using them for studying human patterns of behavior.

Kent Larson, MIT’s Media Lab Changing Places Group director, defends that designing for living should be the basis for obtaining an ecofriendly green low carbon city, so future cities will be very dense but will be also highly livable.

Social evolutionary patterns study will allow us to predict and control some of our major future cities topics.

One good example can be the recently published study at the MIT Tech Review done through the Chinese Jiepang social network. Using the data obtained from the check in its users make daily, a study of in and out city commuting, has been done for Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu and Hong Kong. Using a trained algorithm the have studies mobility patterns being able to differentiate check in for locals and non-locals. Coining the term Indigenation for referring to the time that it takes for a non-local to adapt and behave as a local.

Social evolutionary studies allow complex citizens relationships patterns exposure.

Through a citizen’s behavior simulation Gerardo Iñiguez from Aalto University has just concluded for example that the equilibrium between white and black lies creates cities diversity.

Creating a social network for compiling citizen’s opinions on topics he defends that lies actually help to make society to function properly.

Science of cities includes some disciplines and also should work closely with others.

Take for example some of the concepts Larson proposes as features to study for the future dense cities. The Urban Farming concept consists on the idea of adding an extra lightweight skin to building for growing goods in a more efficient way. It will be an interdisciplinary crossing between Architecture, Agronomy and Engineering. The design of the 200 sqm adaptable dynamic apartments, micro scale housing units, deserves an Anthropological, Architectonical and Sociological crossed study.

The disciplines inclusion doubt use to be easily solved in the cases in which the discipline involved in the study has a long history of existence. Nevertheless, with the new coined scientific disciplines Big Data and computationally related we are still facing an open question.

Is it then a major question to answer: Computational Anthropology should be coined as a discipline itself or must it be imply as a semi-science within “Science of Cities” with several others?

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